Propagating Begonia rex

The King of Begonias

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Indoor gardening enthusiasts, have you ever dreamed of creating a vibrant garden full of Begonia rex from just a single leaf? Today, we're embarking on a fascinating journey into the world of propagating Begonia rex, your new high-impact foliage plant indoors.


Begonia rex is much admired by indoor gardeners for their bold leaf colors and diverse textures. These plants not only add a lively touch to any space but, astonishingly, can be propagated from a single leaf – a phenomenon made possible by the concept of cellular totipotency in plants.

Cellular totipotency is the inherent ability of a plant cell to regenerate into a whole, new organism. This biological marvel is the reason why some plants, like Begonia rex, can be propagated from a leaf. Upon cutting a leaf, it sends a distress signal that triggers cell division and tissue formation—essentially, creating roots and initiating a new beginning!

Your journey into propagating Begonia rex starts with a healthy, mature leaf. Use clean, sterilized shears to cut one that looks vibrant and free of any spots. Good health is contagious; a healthy leaf begets a healthy plant!

After severing your chosen leaf, cleanse it with lukewarm water to remove any dust or tiny unwelcome pests. But remember, ensure your leaf is dry before proceeding, as moisture can lead to the growth of bacteria we'd rather not deal with.

Now comes the exciting part - getting your leaf to root. Carefully make three slight slits toward the base of your leaf.  The cuts will be severing the main veins in the leaf. We're creating the birthplaces of your new roots, and speaking from experience, there's no joy quite like seeing new life emerge from these incisions.

Take the further step of dusting the cut edges of your leaf with a rooting hormone. While not strictly necessary, this step simulates root production and greatly enhances the success of your propagation. Let's give our new plant the best start possible!

Next up, prep your pot. Using a container with good drainage saves your Begonia rex from the dreaded waterlogged condition. Fill your pot with pasteurized potting soil designed for indoor plants, leaving ample room for root growth.

It's time to lay down the leaf, slit-side down. Gently press the soil around the leaf so they're in good contact but avoid burying it. Begonia rex doesn’t sprout roots from being buried like seeds, it brings forth new plants from the leaf itself!

Watering is the key to get things going. Water the soil thoroughly right after planting, and then maintain a delicate balance of moisture: not too dry, but not too damp. Waterlogged or overly dry soil may impede rooting, so your wise touch becomes crucial here.

Your job’s done for the moment. Place your potted leaf in a shady spot with indirect light. Grow lights are idea for growing cuttings. A temperature range of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for the growth process of your begonia rex.

A month into this procedure, your patience will be rewarded. You'll see tiny roots peeking out from the slits you created, progressively anchoring themselves in the soil beneath. Witnessing your leaf transform into a burgeoning plant is truly miraculous.

As the roots establish themselves over time, the leaf will start producing small plantlets along its edge. With appropriate care, these can mature into stunning, full-grown Begonia rex plants. Your indoor garden is about to get a lot more colorful!

When these plantlets are large enough, approximately 1 to 2 inches in size, they can be gently separated from the mother leaf and put into their own pots. Use the same pasteurized potting soil and keep the same watering and light conditions for continued growth success.

Another way of propating these beautiful plants is to cut one leaf (beg one from a friend) and put the end of the petiole in a jar of water.  Within a month or so, roots will emerge from the part of the stem that's in the water.  You can grow it like this, or pot it into soil in a pot.

The process of propagating Begonia rex is a cost-effective method of multiplying your stock of these stunning indoor plants. Imagine how many more vibrant plants you could have or share with fellow gardeners from a single leaf!

Bear in mind, plant propagation isn't a perfect science. There will be times you might confront a failure or two. But don't fret or get discouraged. Each attempt brings an opportunity to learn about your plants and nurture your skills as an indoor gardener.

Imagine yourself surrounded by a lush cluster of Begonia rex, their intricate patterns and colors uplift the ambience of your space. Propagating these foliage plants indoors could also make for a gratifying and profitable venture, selling them to other plant enthusiasts.

Now, it’s time to revel in the wonders of propagating Begonia rex. Approach this task with both excitement and an awareness of the patience it requires. Remember, you're not just cultivating plants, but a deeply personal understanding of the living world. So, dear indoor gardeners, roll up your sleeves, take a leaf, and let's dive into this intriguing journey together!

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